Schenectady County

Schalmont student earns expedition to Montana

Schalmont Middle School student Ed Jamison was one of 15 winners of the National Geographic 2012 Han

Last year, Schalmont Middle School student Ed Jamison was reading about Glacier National Park as research about the states. This year, he’ll be hiking through it.

The Rotterdam youth was one of 15 winners of the National Geographic 2012 Hands-On Explorer Challenge and will travel to Montana July 6-15.

Among the highlights will be exploring the Missouri River, hiking through Glacier National Park, tracing the path of Lewis and Clark and participating in an archaeological dig for dinosaur bones. National Geographic staff members will accompany the students and parents on the trip

More than 1,000 children between the ages of 9 and 14 entered the contest, writing and submitting photos to show their passion for exploration.

Jamison said he became interested in Glacier National Park when he was researching national parks for a project.

His family gets National Geographic magazine at home, and he happened to spot an advertisement for the essay contest. He decided to enter and wrote a 300-word essay on what he enjoys about hiking in the Adirondacks. Jamison said he likes the beauty and tranquility.

“The spots that we go to, there aren’t many people. There’s no one disrupting you, and you can experience nature firsthand,” he said.

He was able to finish the essay in one night. He said he didn’t think he was a good writer, though, and didn’t expect to win.

“I didn’t want to get my hopes too high because if I didn’t win I would be really disappointed,” he said.

He found out in March he was a winner. He is really looking forward to the trip, especially getting to hike in Glacier National Park and go whitewater rafting.

In keeping with his appreciation of solitude, he said he likes Montana because it is the least-populated state per square mile.

He will also be celebrating a birthday during that month.

“I’m going to be turning 12 on the trip, so that’s pretty cool,” he said.

He also won a Canon camera to document the trip.

Jamison is not sure about his future career. He enjoys science class and is considering becoming an engineer or a veterinarian. He likes animals and has two dogs, two cats and a snake.

His mother, Alicia Shultz, will be accompanying him on the trip. She said she was shocked her son won.

“We think about it every day; we’re so excited. We probably would never be able to do something like this,” she said.

Shultz said she encouraged him to enter the contest. “I thought it would be good practice for him for writing,” she said.

This is National Geographic’s sixth expedition for children and the first in the United States. Other destinations have included the Galápagos Islands, South Africa, Australia, Peru and the Cayman Islands.

“The Hands-On Explorer Challenge is all about inspiring the next generation of explorers to get outside and learn about the world around them,” said Melina Bellows, National Geographic’s executive vice president, in a news release. “These young explorers have shown they are ready to take on all that Montana has to offer on this exciting expedition.”

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